Holiday Viewing 

On a mission to select holiday-themed rentals this year, the soon-to-be missus and I couldn't help but grab National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. And, having only ever seen snippets of it on TV before, I paired the Griswolds with 2000's live action version of The Grinch. None probably need to hear my opinion, but NLCV is a rare treat regardless of the season, whereas I found Ron Howard's and Jim Carrey's spin on Dr. Seuss to be significantly less fun than the original 1966 animated version although the costumes and makeup were crazy good and the content was a mite safer for the entire family than the Griswolds.

Another title we took home was The Fall. With a case vaguely reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Dangerous album and touting credits from two of my favorite directors—David Fincher and Spike Jonze—we couldn't resist. Despite the film having obviously been mislaid in the Hollywood holiday section, the curious story of a hospitalized 1920s stuntman befriending a girl and tricking her into stealing him morphine through his storytelling, coupled with insanely gorgeous cinematography, was enough to keep us interested. While watching, I couldn't help but marvel at certain similarities to the 2000 Jennifer Lopez thriller The Cell, but was less surprised afterward when reading on imdb.com that both films were helmed by Indian director Tarsem Singh.

I watched half of A Christmas Story on TNT the other day, and I can honestly say I truly don't feel like the holidays have set in until I see a marathon of that movie running somewhere on satellite TV. Movies I shouldn't have recorded on my DVR but did anyway currently include the 1964 claymation special Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer and It's a Wonderful Life. I've seen Rudolph a million times and Frank Capra's classic a couple, but I really ought to have known better than to worry about missing either.

If I can find anyone willing to watch it with me, I fully intend to endure the torture that is the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD I bought at Costco in a holiday pack years ago. And if I really feel brave, I'll dig out the VHS in my garage containing my super secret favorite holiday pick from childhood, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. The fiancee probably deserves to know what she's in for before we say "I do."

Two years ago, I picked up two copies of an obscure family film, The 12 Dogs of Christmas—one for my parents and one for myself. And though I've never actually taken the plastic off of mine, I think I'll give it a go this year, or else my father will continue asking me if I've seen it yet.

A final choice for us this year, time permitting, will be revisiting The Family Stone. I'm a sucker for downer movies, and this Christmas tear-jerker instantly made my Top 10 when I first watched it last year. I can't resist emotion-inducing films, especially those featuring families even more dysfunctional than my own.

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